Akola: "She Works"
Akola: "She Works"Meet one of our newest obsessions (and vendors), the Akola Project, empowering women in poverty to become agents of transformation in their families and communities through economic development.
Much of the population living in poverty is comprised of women, who are the primary providers for their families. There is a significant segment of this female population in countries of all stages of development that are stuck in poverty, unable to act as adequate providers, because they are marginalized by cultural, socioeconomic and gender inequalities.
Akola Project addresses the issue of poverty by empowering women who lack access to the training and economic opportunities that would allow them to rise in socioeconomic status.
The Akola Project model is uniquely designed to empower each woman economically and socially in order to allow her to take ownership of her own development and ultimately, change her view of herself. Over time, Akola’s team has found that the key to achieving sustainable poverty is to invest in multiple areas of women’s lives, not simply the economic. Akola’s programs are designed to replace the negative outcomes that result from patriarchal society, lack of
government assistance, lack of infrastructure in remote communities, and cyclical poverty with positive outcomes in three major areas: economic empowerment, social empowerment, and process empowerment.
International Headquarters: Jinja, Uganda
With international headquarters in Jinja, the majority of Akola's production takes place in Uganda by women participating in vocational training, employment and holistic programming. Partnering with 7 rural communities in Northern and Eastern Uganda, Akola works in villages that are remote, functioning with barter economies. As women earn wages through their work at Akola, they are infusing capital into their village economies and empowering other local business owners by being reliable customers.
While part-time bead rollers earn an income that is nearly twice the Ugandan poverty level,
Akola’s full-time members earn up to five times the Ugandan poverty level.
This means that the average full-time member earns a salary that is equivalent to that of a Ugandan police officer or primary school teacher. Wow!
The Demi necklace is a perfect representation of the artisan work that goes into each rolled bead. Made with love in order to give hope, this necklace makes a bold statement. Shop the Demi necklace here.
Domestic Headquarters: Dallas, TX
Along with global projects to fight poverty, the Akola Project has created a Contemporary Collection to be produced exclusively in Dallas by women associated with one of nine local nonprofits who are seeking dignified employment to provide for their families.
Many of the women that work for us have children and are the main or only caregiver. We pay a fair living wage, teach them a skill, and provide work hours when their kids are at school (9 to 2). Some bring the smaller children with them to work. We have elevated the level of product we make in Dallas to allow us to pay a fair living wage in the city.
In the fall, we employed 20 women. This summer, that number is more than doubling as Akola products are now available at both Bought Beautifully and Neiman Marcus.The Alexandria bracelet, one of Akola's contemporary pieces made with love in Dallas, is one of our favorites for its bold, yet classic look. Shop the Alexandria bracelet here.
The Akola Impact
Everyday, Akola artisans gather at vocational centers in order to assemble and create the pieces we purchase. When an Akola accessory reaches the hands of a customer in the U.S., 100% of the purchase is reinvested into Akola's mission to empower women in poverty.
Every cent contributes to Akola's social business that provides women with a dependable, living wage every month.
With her income, the Akola woman is able to provide healthy meals and clean drinking water for all of the children and elderly community members that she cares for. She no longer has to worry if her family will go hungry. She also earns enough to send her children to school, and access basic healthcare and a secure home.
Love knowing your purchases are supporting and empowering women both locally and globally? Shop more from Akola here.
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